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2011 NFL Draft Analysis - Round Three
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 29, 2011


Who went where and how good are each of the draft picks in the 3rd round?

2011 NFL Draft

3rd Round Picks & Analysis


2011 NFL Draft Analysis
1st Round (1-5) | 1st Round (6-10) | 1st Round (11-15) | 1st Round (16-20)
1st Round (21-25) | 1st Round (26-32) | 2nd Round | 3rd Round
4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Round | 7th Round | Top Free Agents

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs | CBs

1 (65) Carolina Panthers
DT Terrell McClain, South Florida 6-2, 297
Overall Pick No. 65 CFN Overall Ranking: 209

Undersized. He’s not a top-motor guy and he gets way too sloppy, but for his size, he needs to be more of an interior pass rusher. It’s a reach of a pick, but with linemen flying off the board, the Panthers can’t be blamed if they’re making a move to take the Bull here. This is around where he was supposed to go, but he could be a bit disappointing if he’s being asked to be a true tackle; he’ll be a 4-3 end.

CFN Analysis: The raw bulk isn’t quite there compared to other good nose tackles, but McClain makes up for it with tremendous strength. Not just a stick-in-the-mud, he has just enough quickness to get into the backfield once in a while and he’ll more than hold his own against the better blockers. The problem is his body. It would be nice if he was a bit bigger with more good weight, and he needs more time sculpting; he’s not going to get better in the weight room considering he’s one of the strongest tackles in the draft. Does he want to be a factor? He’s not known as a fighter and he’s not a jump-through-fire type of killer many might want. The tools are there to think he could be a solid starter, but he was just okay at USF and he has to work to translate his raw strength into more plays.
CFN Projection: Third Round

2 (66) Cincinnati Bengals
OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada 6-1, 235
Overall Pick No. 6 CFN Overall Ranking: 46

A very fun, very athletic pick who’ll bring blazing speed to the outside. He might not have a set spot for the Bengal defense, but he’ll be thrown on the field and turned loose to get into the backfield. He’s a bit small and he’s not going to be a thumper, but there will be times when he’s unblockable.

CFN Analysis: He might not be all that big and he can’t be a defensive end, but he’s a peerless athlete. Von Miller might have a good burst and Bruce Carter, when healthy, might be as fluid as they come, but no one in this draft moves like Moch, who blew up a 42-inch vertical leap and ripped off a 4.46 at the Combine; he uses the wheels well as a tremendous closer on the quarterback. He’s a willing run stopper who’ll try to hold up against the run, but his money will be made as a playmaker into the backfield. Now he needs to be more creative and has to figure out how to hone his craft after spending his career destroying WAC opponents by simply being faster and more athletic. Get a good block on him and he’ll stay hit, but he’ll spend most of his time flying around blockers.
CFN Projection: Third Round

3 (67) Denver Broncos
OLB Nate Irving, NC State (ILB) 6-1, 240
Overall Pick No. 69 CFN Overall Ranking: 90

Is he going to be an inside or outside defender for the Broncos? He’s a good leader who’ll play a big role right away, even it he’s a special teamer, but he’ll be a starter very, very soon. The third defensive player taken by the Broncos, they’re solidifying the base with playmakers. Irving might not be an ideal fit for any one spot, but he’s a player.

CFN Analysis: On his way to becoming a Butkus Award-level, he suffered several major injuries after falling asleep at the wheel and getting into a bad car accident. He managed to come back to become an ultra-productive leader and playmaker for the NC State defense, and he has gotten stronger from the adversity. A pure football player who acts the part and has the fire needed to be a top run stopper, but he’s not the surest of tacklers and he doesn’t have the elite athleticism to be an NFL pass rusher. While he’s versatile enough to play inside or out, he’s a big of a tweener without the makeup to be a middle linebacker and lacking the wheels to fly into the backfield from the outside.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

4 (68) Buffalo Bills
ILB Kelvin Sheppard, LSU 6-2, 250
Overall Pick No. 68 CFN Overall Ranking: 63

Ryan Mallett was right there for the taking for a great value pick, but the Bills are going hard on defense with Marcell Dareus, Aaron Williams, and now a very good, very sound run stopper. With the three picks, Buffalo is improvine the middle of the defense and considering it was the worst in the NFL against the run, Sheppard should change that in a hurry.

CFN Analysis: Built for the inside, he’s not all that athletic and doesn’t move like an elite player, but he’s strong, thick, and rock-solid as a run stopper. A pure tackler who succeeded at a high level in the SEC, he did a little of everything well and was moved around where needed. There’s no worries about the bumps and bruises; he’s a smart, high-energy warrior who has to be dragged off the field. While he’s not going to be the best player in a linebacking corps, and he might not be on the field on third downs, he could be a leading tackler. He’s the type of player you’d like to work a run defense around.
CFN Projection: Third Round

5 (69) Arizona Cardinals
TE Rob Housler, Florida Atlantic 6-5, 248
Overall Pick No. 69 CFN Overall Ranking: 160

The Cardinals really, REALLY don’t want Ryan Mallett. They must have a veteran quarterback waiting in the wings to take a tight end over a passer, but Housler is a terrific athlete who can stretch the field. With Ryan Williams taken earlier and Housler to add to the passing game, the offense is putting together the pieces. Now it needs someone to throw the ball.

CFN Analysis: A terrific athlete, he was the fastest of the tight ends at the Combine tearing off a 4.55 while zipping through the short drills, but while he’s a great athlete with excellent speed, he’s not bulky and he’ll be mediocre when it comes to providing the big block. He’s not the most natural of receivers and he’s not a great route runner, but don’t be shocked if he’s not a much better pro than he was a collegian.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

6 (70) Kansas City Chiefs (from Cleveland)
OLB Justin Houston, Georgia 6-3, 270
Overall Pick No. 70 CFN Overall Ranking: 34

Does he have the motor? He’s a pass rusher with terrific size and the ability to change a game by getting to the quarterback and making big things happen, but he just doesn’t do it all the time. He’s a need pick for a KC defense that has to improve up front and has to get more from the outside, but he’ll need strong, tough coaching to maximize his talent.

CFN Analysis: With excellent size and a great burst off the ball, he has the athleticism to work as an outside linebacker or could move to end if needed and be used as a 3-4 pure pass rusher. When he’s on and when he has the fire lit under him, he can dominate and take over a game. With phenomenal athleticism to go along with his bulk and size, he has peerless raw tools, but he has to use them on a more consistent basis. He disappeared way too often and wasn’t nearly as good as his final numbers. He’s the epitome of the pass rusher who comes up with one or two great plays a game and looks good on paper, but doesn’t play up to the stats. If he wants it and if he decides he wants to be great, he could be a destructive force, but he has to be more physical and has to take his game to another level. There’s a chance he could be a far better and bigger pro than he was a collegian.
CFN Projection: Second Round

7 (71) Dallas Cowboys
RB Demarco Murray, Oklahoma 6-0,
Overall Pick No. 72 CFN Overall Ranking: 50

Interesting. The Cowboys are going a bit younger with Marion Barber becoming less effective and with Felix Jones fine, but hardly worthy of a first round slot. Murray will do a little bit of everything and could be one of the team’s best blocking backs. He can als be used as a third down playmaker and could be a dangerous receiver for Tony Romo to check down to.

CFN Analysis: Fast, fast, fast, Murray has one of the best blends of strength and speed in the draft, but he had a vast array of big injuries during his career. With his basic skills, great hands for the passing game, and with return skills, he can be used in a variety of ways and can be a jack-of-all-trades. While he doesn’t look like a running back and is built like a tall, tough receiver, he could be a devastating playmaker with ten good touches a game. With his injury history, he can’t be relied on to last a full season.
CFN Projection: Third Round

8 (72) New Orleans Saints (from Washington)
ILB Martez Wilson, Illinois 6-4, 250 (OLB)
Overall Pick No. 72 CFN Overall Ranking: 18

Seriously, can New Orleans NOT make an interesting pick in this draft? After helping out the pass rush with Cameron Jordan and getting Mark Ingram for the running game, Wilson is a terrific value pick with the ability to make big plays in space and is a strong, versatile presence who can make big things happen. He might have slid, but he’s in a great spot.

CFN Analysis: Able to play inside or out, Wilson was a superstar recruit for the Illini who overcame getting stabbed in a bar fight, and suffering a neck injury, to have a fantastic 2010. The injury happened early enough in 2009 to give him a full year to heal, and then he showed what he could do as the leader of the Illini back seven. The prototype, he might not be a top prospect for the middle, but he’d dominate in an inside spot in a 4-3 and can shine as a pass rusher on the outside. He looks the part, was fantastic at the Combine, and has all the tools needed to be a producer at a high level for a long, long time. He’s still scratching the surface on what he can become, and he doesn’t have the best instincts, but players with his skills and body type are rare. He got by, though, simply by being far more talented than everyone else, and now he has to learn the finer points of the position to reach his Pro Bowl potential.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9 (73) New England Patriots (from Houston)
RB Stevan Ridley, LSU 5-11, 225 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 73 CFN Overall Ranking: 138

The Patriots are doubling-down on passing up on Mark Ingram by taking the hard pounding Ridley for the inside after taking Shane Vereen on the outside. Basically, the offense just upgraded from BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead with two far more talented players. Ridley might not be a star, but he’ll be an ultra-productive part of a rotation if he’

CFN Analysis: A strong, powerful back who provides a thump, he managed to be the only thing that consistently worked for the painful LSU offense. Always working and always coming up with positive yards, he’s a physical producer who’ll come up with a few extra inches after getting stopped. While he’s not speedy and he’s not going to hit any home runs, he’ll be a good complimentary back if there are other fast options to play around with. While he doesn’t do anything at a high level, he’ll be strong enough a runner to get a long look in a backfield.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

10 (74) New England Patriots (from Minnesota)
QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas 6-7, 247 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 74 CFN Overall Ranking: 38

It’s the perfect situation for the sliding star of the draft. Mallett can be brought along slowly, develop, and be ready to hit the field in 3-to-5 years when Tom Brady is done. If Brady goes down with something catastrophic, Mallett might be the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft and can step in and not be awful. There are still major question marks about his ability to handle any sort of a pass rush, but that can be cured a bit with a little bit of time. He’ll get that chance to develop and work on his game, and there are few better than Brady to learn from. If this pick doesn’t work, it’ll be Mallett’s fault because he’ll get every chance to succeed with no immediate pressure whatsoever.

CFN Analysis: If you could promise that he’ll get a three-Mississippi count, he’ll destroy NFL defenses. There’s no one in the draft who’ll be better with time and a clean pocket, with the arm to put a pass anywhere on the field and the ability to use the howitzer to put a deep ball on a line and stretch a defense. The issue is whenever there’s a slight bit of pressure. He locks on to one target way too often, and if there’s so much as a stiff breeze coming his way, it’s a toss-up whether or not he’ll make the throw or put it in the fifth row. There’s no mobility whatsoever and there’ll be times when his NFL offense will be shut down cold if the line isn’t doing its job. And then there’s the character factor. Forget about the rumors swirling, the big issue is a confidence level that’s occasionally a plus, but more often than not appears to rub people the wrong way. However, even with all the concerns and all the question marks, if he gets to play behind a top line, and if he learns how to get the ball out of his hands faster, the upside is there to be fantastic.
CFN Projection: Second Round

11 (75) Seattle Seahawks (from Detroit)
OG John Moffitt, Wisconsin 6-4, 319
Overall Pick No. 75 CFN Overall Ranking: 99

The Seahawks have to be a little ticked that New England yoinked Ryan Mallett one pick ahead of where he’d be a great selection. Moffitt is a ready-made run blocker for the Seattle interior, and with James Carpenter already drafted and Russell Okung in place from last year, the building blocks are in place for the near future. Again, though, while Moffit is a good prospect, he’s not a franchise-changing quarterback.

CFN Analysis: Really, really strong, he’ll have no problems pushing anyone around in a power running game. He’s big, tough, and he’s shockingly quick for his size. However, he doesn’t use his athleticism well enough and is far better in a phone booth. He’s a great leader and a good character player, but he doesn’t quite have the elite skills to be a top NFL starter. He’ll be a starter, but he’s not going to be the type of blocker who’ll get anyone fired up.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

12 (76) Jacksonville Jaguars (from San Francisco)
OG Will Rackley, Lehigh 6-3, 309
Overall Pick No. 76 CFN Overall Ranking: 152

A nice pick for a team looking for a versatile blocker, Rackley was a college tackle who’ll move inside to guard, and while he’s not a thumper and he’s not the best athlete, to be kind, he’ll be needed as a protector for Blaine Gabbert in the near future. He’s not going to be an all-star by any stretch, but he could be a decent cog once he finds his spot.

CFN Analysis: He went from being a decent prospect to a must-see after the East-West Shrine practices. A tackle in college, he needs to be a guard. There’s no athleticism whatsoever and was a disaster in the raw workouts at the Combine, but he’s better on the field than he looked in the drills. He’ll get tried out at tackle, but he’s way, way too slow to handle himself against a decent pass rusher, and he’s not bulky enough to be a major factor on the inside.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

13 (77) Tennessee Titans
DT Jurrell Casey, USC 6-1, 300
Overall Pick No. 77 CFN Overall Ranking: 89

A very quick run plugger, he doesn’t have the size to be a nose tackle, but he’s a potentially disruptive force who was way high on several draft boards last year at this time. He’s going to be a key piece of the interior puzzle, but he’s not the type of tackle you build around. That’s okay; he’ll be fine for what the Titans need.

CFN Analysis: Too short and too mushy, he doesn’t have the ideal look of an NFL defensive tackle and he needs to spent time in the weight room and with the right training energy to reinvent his body. Despite the concerns, he’s a great athlete with great quickness and excellent strength on the nose. When he gets to a ball-carrier he brings a pop, and he’s a productive playmaker who finds ways to work himself into the right position, but he has work to do to get in better overall shape if he’s going to be a difference maker at the next level.
CFN Projection: Second Round

14 (78) St. Louis Rams
WR Austin Pettis, Boise State 6-2, 209
Overall Pick No. 78 CFN Overall Ranking: 147

Lance Kendricks gets taken a round earlier to be a safety valve for Sam Bradford, and Pettis is sort of the same thing. A big, lumbering target, he’s not going to stretch the field in any way, but he should be a whale of a complementary receiver who’ll always run the right route and will always be exactly where Bradford needs him to be. It would’ve been nice, though, if the Rams had gone for one of the Edmond Gates-like speed targets on the board.

CFN Analysis: With good size and great route running ability, he’s a good wide receiver who’s a better football player than an athlete. He’ll catch everything that comes his way and he came up with several nice deep plays over his years at Boise State, but he’s way too slow, isn’t quick, and he doesn’t use his size well enough as a blocker. He’ll be a third receiver who becomes ultra-reliable on short-to-midrange routes, but he’ll be erased by any NFL defensive back who’s trying to stop him. He’ll probably be overdrafted.
CFN Projection:
Fourth Round

15 (79) Washington Redskins (from Miami)
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami 6-1, 209
Overall Pick No. 79 CFN Overall Ranking: 61

Big, fast, and talented, he’ll drop some passes, but he has the potential to finally be the go-to receiver the Redskins have been trying to draft for years. After whiffing on receiver pick after receiver pick, Hankerson is a sure thing to not bust, and he has the potential to be a No. 1 target right away. Now he needs someone to throw to him.

CFN Analysis: With good size and excellent speed, he’s a nice all-around prospect who had a good career and then abused defensive backs during Senior Bowl week to make a bigger splash. He likes being a football player and is always working and always trying to improve his game; it shows as a route runner. A more natural receiver than he gets credit for – he did have a case of the dropsies at times - he can snatch the ball with big hands. He doesn’t have special skills and he’s not the type of target to revolve a passing game around, but he’ll be a long-time pro who’ll be a reliable complementary player.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

16 (80) San Francisco 49ers (from Jacksonville)
CB Chris Culliver, South Carolina (FS) 6-0, 199
Overall Pick No. 80 CFN Overall Ranking: 198

A HUGE reach, he’s not worth the pick in the third round and the 49ers blew it considering they could’ve had him much, much later. He’s an athlete and a Combine star, but he’s always hurt and always having problems when the ball is in the air. You can’t coach speed, and he can fly and is extremely versatile. But it’ll be a shock if he’s a starter right away.

CFN Analysis: Speed, speed, speed, speed, speed. In a draft class full of decent runners, Culliver takes it to another level timing in the sub-4.4s while flying through the ball drills at the Combine. He’s built well and has the strength and leaping ability to make scouts drool, he has to prove he can put it all together on the field. Talent-wise, he’s not really an NFL corner and he’s not really a safety with mediocre tackling skills and poor ball instincts. Always banged up, he’ll be a regular in the training room. Someone will be fired up to have him and he’ll impress in practices by flying all over the field, but he’ll be disappointing when the lights go on.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

17 (81) Oakland Raiders
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami 6-1, 176
Overall Pick No. 81 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked

And there are the Raiders we all know and love. They take a player in Van Dyke who can flat-out fly, just like Al Davis likes, but he’s rail-thin and wasn’t exactly a star for the Hurricanes. A pure athlete, he was barely a starter at times, but with his elite wheels, if anyone was going to blow a third round pick on him, it was going to be Oakland.

CFN Analysis: You can’t coach speed. He’s way undersized with a Snoop Dogg body that needs more bulk, but he clocked a 4.29 and plays just as fast and smooth on the field. He’s never going to tackle anyone and he’ll get shoved around by anyone who gets a hand on him, but the biggest problem is his playing ability. He couldn’t stay on the field in college, relegated to backup duty way too often, and he’s more of an athlete than a football player. But that speed … it might not make up for the five reps on the bench, and he’ll never be a regular starter, but coaches love players who can move at an elite level. Someone will find a spot for him.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

18 (82) San Diego Chargers
WR Vincent Brown, San Diego State 5-11, 187
Overall Pick No. 82 CFN Overall Ranking: 97

He doesn’t have to move far. A tremendous route runner with great hands, he could very earily be a No. 1 target for Phil Rivers. He’ll never burn anyone deep, but he’s strong, talented, and is a far better football player than a workout warrior. After a great off-season, he became the target that everyone talked about wanting to have, but no one was going to pay for him. If San Diego didn’t take him here, he would’ve been gone soon after.

CFN Analysis: It would be nice if he was bigger and it would be wonderful if he wasn’t glacier-slow, but he’s functionally fast and didn’t seem to have a problem coming up with the big play. Awesome during Senior Bowl week, he ripped up the next-level defensive backs and caught everything that came his way. He could be an ultra-reliable third down receiver who runs perfect routes and is as reliable as they come. He’ll become a quarterback’s best friend.
CFN Projection:
Fourth Round

19 (83) New York Giants
WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy 5-9, 185
Overall Pick No. 84 CFN Overall Ranking: 60

The Giants already have some big, strong receivers, and now it has a potential gamebreaker in Jernigan who can take a short pass a long way. He should be a tremendous No. 3 target with the other good playmakers already in place, and he’s a luxury pick. Eli Manning will come up with several big plays just be getting the ball to Jernigan on the move.

CFN Analysis: Extremely quick with excellent speed, he’s a shifty, dangerous playmaker who dominated the Sun Belt and came up big whenever he got his chances against the bigger boys. Great when he gets the ball on the move, he should thrive in single coverage and will have extra value as a kick returner. The problem is a lack of size that should get him beaten up a bit too much. He wasn’t healthy as a collegian and certainly won’t be able to take much of a pounding at the next level. There will be times when he takes over a game and is the difference, but he won’t be reliable to last 16 games.
CFN Projection:
Third Round

20 (84) OLB Mason Foster, Washington 6-1, 245
Overall Pick No. 93 CFN Overall Ranking: 84

An awesome pick for a defensive front that secured the line with Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, Foster will clean up all the messes the four players up front don’t get to. A pure baller, he might not be a great athlete, but he makes lots and lots of tackles, and Tampa might have just gotten its leading tackler and statistical star late in the third round. It’s a great pick at the right time.

CFN Analysis: While he might not have all the tools and he might not be a special athlete in any way, the guy is a nails-eating baller who never, ever misses a tackle. One of the nation’s most underappreciated players, he was ultra-productive with 163 tackles last year with 14 tackles for loss, and he can be a very, very good starter at the next level if he has a good group around him. While he doesn’t have the raw tools and he isn’t going to do much pass rushing from the outside, he’ll make himself into a producer.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

21 (85) Baltimore Ravens (from Philadelphia)
OT Jah Reid, UCF 6-7, 325
Overall Pick No. 85 CFN Overall Ranking: 140

Baltimore moved up to get him, and he should be a great fit for what its line needs. Michael Oher can be a left tackle, Reid can instantly fill in on the right side, and Joe Flacco will be protected for the next several years. Reid might not be a special blocker, but he’ll more than handle himself against most speed rushers and can be a steady rock for the next ten years.

CFN Analysis: A polarizing prospect, he lost over 50 points over his college career and became a more agile, more effective blocker with a long, strong frame that’s tough to get around. He has worked to become a solid player and still could be scratching the surface on his talent, but he doesn’t sink down enough and tends to block like he’s 6-7. He’s not the quickest or most athletic blocker around, and he’ll never work on the left side, but someone is going to be really, really interested in the possibilities of a blocker with his frame.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

22 (86) Kansas City Chiefs
DE Allen Bailey, Miami 6-3, 285
Overall Pick No. 86 CFN Overall Ranking: 68

The Chiefs want to get to the passer. While Justin Houston, the earlier pick, might need a kick in the pants, Bailey shouldn’t have a problem getting rolling and should be a relentless playmaker in to the backfield on a regular baiss. He’s big, quick, and he has the tools to become a special pass rusher if he’s not keyed on. If Houston produces on the other side, Bailey will be a statistical star.

CFN Analysis: As far as raw tools, it’s tough to find a better equipped talent on the end with rock-solid size with little to no fat on him, and the strength to throw weights around in the gym and beat up blockers when getting into the backfield. Fast off the ball, he can be used as a dangerous pass rusher and has the athleticism to overwhelm an offense. The problem is that all his talents don’t always translate to the field. He was mediocre at the Senior Bowl and didn’t do enough for the Canes when the spotlight was on. On pure tools he’s worth a high pick, but he needs to be a better football player.
CFN Projection: Second Round

23 (87) Indianapolis Colts
DT Drake Nevis, LSU 6-1, 294
Overall Pick No. 87 CFN Overall Ranking: 88

The perfect pick at the perfect time, Nevis is a typical Indianapolis selection with good quickness and the ability to keep moving. While he’s not a space-eater, he wiggles his way into the backfield and he’s always working. A great value pick considering where other defensive tackles have gone, he’s an ultra-productive performer who’ll always bring the A effort. He needs time in the weight room, but he’ll be a key part of the puzzle.

CFN Analysis: He’ll be dogged for not having ideal size being too short and without enough mass to hold up as an anchor of an NFL defensive tackle, but he can really, really move. There’s upside to his game if he can get into a pro weight room right away and can get the right training, and he needs to do that immediately. With too much bad weight, he needs to transform his body and needs to make up for his lack of size by being in much better shape. Even so, at his current shape and size he can get into the backfield in a heartbeat if he can beat his man off the ball; it’s all about the snap and his explosiveness. He won’t make too many stops against the power running teams and he has to be a part of a rotation, but when it comes to interior pass rushers, consider him a smaller Nick Fairley without the first round price tag.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

24 (88) New Orleans Saints
CB Johnny Patrick, Louisville 5-11, 191
Overall Pick No. 88 CFN Overall Ranking: 129

The Saints keep on loading up with good, athletic defenders, and Patrick has the quickness to be a part of a rotation. He’s not going to be a star of a starter, and he’s only going to be a piece of the puzzle, but he’s a good producer who knows what he’s doing and should fit in nicely. He doesn’t have to be the main man, and that’s a plus.

CFN Analysis: A strong senior season turned him into a good prospect, but he has to show that last year wasn’t a fluke. With good size and nice quickness, he has the look and he has the burst, but he’s not fast and he’s not fluid. The 4.55 at the Combine was bad, a knee injury kept him from being doing much on the quickness drills, and the 13 reps on the bench were disappointing considering there are some who might think of him as a possible safety. However, he’s physical and he’s not afraid to come up with help against the run. Not known as a high-character team guy, he’ll have to have a fire lit under him and he’ll have to prove he’s tough enough to be a consistent No. 2 corner. He’s a good football player, but he has to maximize his potential.
CFN Projection: Third Round

25 (89) San Diego Chargers (from Seattle)
CB Shareece Wright, USC 5-11, 185
Overall Pick No. 89 CFN Overall Ranking: 154

The Chargers made some curious picks in this draft, but Wright is a chance on greatness that makes sense here. Very fast with a world of upside, he had a great senior season and looked the part throughout last year, and he has the right tools, but he has to prove he can be consistent and has to prove he can hold up. The Charger secondary needs playmakers, and at the very least, Wright can move.

CFN Analysis: Can he hold up? Fast, he came up with a 4.46 at the Combine and he was solid during the drills, but he’s only a few years removed from a broken neck and he missed almost all of 2009 with academic issues. A one-year wonder, he came up with a strong senior year with 73 tackles, but he never lived up to the hype coming out of high school. He has the raw tools to be fantastic with a little bit of time, but he’s a better athlete than a football player. He needs a ton of technique work and has to show he can make things happen with the ball is in the air, but with his speed and his motor he should be a nice backup who sees time in nickel situations.
CFN Projection: Third Round

26 (90) Philadelphia Eagles (from Baltimore)
CB Curtis Marsh, Utah State 6-0, 192
Overall Pick No. 90 CFN Overall Ranking: 196

It’s like Philadelphia is trying to get awful value whenever it has a chance. Marsh is a very fast, very athletic prospect who can get all over the field, but he’s a project. He’s not going to be a starting corner any time soon, but with his raw wheels and upside he can find a spot somewhere in the secondary early on.

CFN Analysis: The former running back was timed in the 4.5s, but he stepped it up in Indy with a 4.46 to go along with his silky-smooth agility. He still needs work on figuring out the subtle nuances of the position, but he did enough to be known as a ball-hawk to stay away from. While it’ll take a little while before he harnesses all his skills, he’s such a talented, explosive athlete that he’s worth the effort. More than fine in nickel and dime packages early on, he’ll end up being a good all-around corner once he puts it all together. The upside is limitless.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

27 (91) Atlanta Falcons
ILB Akeem Dent, Georgia 6-3, 242
Overall Pick No. 91 CFN Overall Ranking: 130

A two-down defender, he’ll be a part of the Falcon run defense and should be a rock at times against the run. He’s not going to run anyone down, but Atlanta has enough good defenders to funnel players his way, and he’ll make lots of stops. He’s the type of player who can be a vocal leader for a defense right away, but that might be tough on this D. Motivation won’t be a problem.

CFN Analysis: There are few linebackers with his look and his size. He comes right out of central casting with a muscular frame and the functional strength to back it up. Built for the middle, he’s tough enough to take on any inside job and is just quick enough to play outside if needed. A good leader and a good worker, he also showed a nice burst in Indy and looked more impressive at times than the other prospects. While he was impressive in the quickness drills, he’s not a factor for the pass defense and he missed a bit too many tackles. If he’s surrounded by players who’ll funnel plays his way, he’ll be fine.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

28 (92) Oakland Raiders (from New England)
OT Joe Barksdale, LSU (OG) 6-5, 325
Overall Pick No. 92 CFN Overall Ranking: 190

It’s like Oakland is trying to collect as many average pro offensive line prospects as possible. Barksdale is a strong, tough guard who’ll be tried out at tackle early on. He’s versatile and he should be a blaster of a run blocker, but he’s just not. He looks like he should destroy people, but he doesn’t. In other words, he’s a Raider.

CFN Analysis: Insanely strong and very big, he’ll make his money as a guard at some point in his career. While he has a massive body, he’s able to move well for his size and he shuffles into pass protection quickly. However, he doesn’t do much down the field and he doesn’t destroy his man. For a player with his bulk, he should be far, far better at burying a defender. He’ll be overdrafted.
CFN Projection: Third Round

29 (93) Chicago Bears
FS Chris Conte, California 6-2, 197
Overall Pick No. 93 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked

The former outside linebacker looked great at times, but he’s hardly a polished, finished product. The Bears still have lots of work to do on the offensive line, and receiver is a must area that has to be dealt with, but they also needed a defensive back. Conte will bring the effort and he’ll be great against the run, but he’s a guy; that’s it. The Bears need a sure-thing, high-level producer, and Conte isn’t it.

CFN Analysis: Big and fast, he has the frame with a long, lean build that’s perfect for an NFL free safety. With decent straight-line speed and the ability to get to the ball in a hurry, he makes plenty of plays and is strong against the run. Always around the play, his effort and efficiency get the job done. He’s not the best of athletes and he doesn’t bring a lot of pop to his hits. Just okay in pass coverage, he doesn’t come up with the big plays needed, and he ended up working as a strong safety at the end of last year. He doesn’t have the NFL tools, but he should be solid in nickel and dime packages.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

30 (94) New York Jets
DT Kenrick Ellis, Hampton 6-5, 346
Overall Pick No. 94 CFN Overall Ranking: 139

It’s a wee bit of a reach, but this is the exact pick for the exact team that needed to make it. The Jets needed its wide body for the inside of the defensive front, and while Muhammad Wilkerson is a good, quick tackle, Ellis is the thumper to wrok everything around. Rex Ryan has his inside precences for the next several years.

CFN Analysis: A massive, MASSIVE body who blocks out the sun, he’s a true tackle who has the ideal size needed to stuff the interior and hold up when getting slammed by double teams. He’ll have to show he can handle playing against the big boys on a regular basis after beating up players at the lower level, but he was good enough to start out at South Carolina. Booted after a slew of issues with drug tests, he has to prove he has the knucklehead streak kept under wraps and he has to prove that he wants to do all the little things needed to be great. In a draft full of great tackles he might not be worth the time and the patience if drafted too high, but it’s hard to find bodies like his and it’s hard to find players who can be as physical.
CFN Projection: Third Round

31 (95) Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Curtis Brown, Texas 6-0, 185
Overall Pick No. 95 CFN Overall Ranking: 109

Yet another good Texas defensive back, he might not be a shut-down defender that the Steelers can stick on the outside, but he’s a good all-around athlete who’s a good, sound veteran. He’s not a No. 1 guy, but he doesn’t have to be. He’s the type of player who makes big plays at the right time in the system, and he’ll be a productive pick.

CFN Analysis: He’s just not fast enough. He might be smooth as glass and he jumped out of the stadium with a jaw-dropping 39.5” vertical, but the 4.54 at the Combine didn’t get the job done. Quick, tough, and athletic enough to be used as a kick and punt returner if needed, he moves without a problem and he effortlessly flies around the field. He’ll get beaten up by the bigger receivers and he only made two picks in 52 career games, but he broke up 32 passes and he has the experience and skills to be a nice part of a good secondary. While he’ll never be the main man, he’ll be worth a long look as a No. 2 corner but will show his worth as a to special teamer.
CFN Projection: Third Round

32 (96) Green Bay Packers
RB Alex Green, Hawaii 6-0, 225
Overall Pick No. 96 CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked

Uhhhhh, okay. The Packers needed a running back, and while Green can catch the ball and moves well, it’s not like he’s going to be a workhorse of a runner. There are times to take players like this, and the end of the third round isn’t it. He’s a pure third down back, even though he has the size to run inside the tackles.

CFN Analysis: With good size and excellent quickness, Green was a good producer in a passing attack. He has the hands to become a dangerous option in the passing game, even though he’s thick and built like a power runner. A developmental prospect, he has a few decent skills, but he’s a niche player who’ll struggle to ever be a starter.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

33 (97) Carolina Panthers (Compensatory)
DT Sione Fua, Stanford 6-2, 308
Overall Pick No. 91 CFN Overall Ranking: 215

After taking Terrell McClain in the second round, head coach Ron Rivera is doubling down on defensive tackles by getting a run stopper to complement the quick McClain. The plan, as it looks now, was to not go with Marcell Dareus with the No. 1 pick, take Cam Newton, and then load up on defense whenever possible. The Panthers have prospects for the inside now, but neither one is a sure thing.

CFN Analysis: The definition of a mauler, he doesn’t miss plays against the run and he doesn’t get shoved around by anyone. With surprising quickness to go along with his toughness and fighting spirit, he’ll be loved by a coaching staff and might only be scratching the surface on his talent. While he’s strong enough hold his own, he can disappear for stretches and is too easily blocked. He’ll show enough to be the last man on a roster … or the last man cut.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round